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How Color Can Help Boost Your Business

How Color Can Help Boost Your Business

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: February 2, 2016 Updated: February 2, 2016

What can color do for your business’s marketing? A better question might be: What can’t it do? According to a recent infographic from Kissmetrics, color can:

  1. Make your brand more recognizable. Use of color increases brand recognition by 80 percent.
  2. Get customers to buy a new product. A whopping 93 percent of consumers say “visual appearance” is the primary factor they consider when buying a new product.
  3. Get customers to buy any product. Some 85 percent of consumers say color is a primary reason why they buy.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing and using color in your marketing materials.

  • Be consistent. For best results, you’ll want the colors in your ads, website, packaging and print marketing materials to tie in with the colors in your business logo.
  • Consider the format of your marketing materials. For example, if your business has a physical location, you may need a brightly colored or high-contrast store sign to attract the attention of people driving by. If you have an ecommerce or B2B business and most of your marketing is done online, subtler colors might be just as effective.
  • Assess the competition. You’ll need to walk a fine line between standing out from your competitors and fitting in with them when it comes to color. For instance, if you own a landscaping service, plant nursery or recycling company, green is a logical color to use because it’s “shorthand” for nature. Purple and hot-pink marketing materials wouldn’t work as well.

Here’s a closer look at what different colors mean in marketing.

Warm colors:

Red: Viewing red physically increases people’s heart rate and energizes them. This is why “sale” tags are also in red. You can use red to attract attention (like a stop sign) and create a sense of urgency in prospective customers. Red would not be a good color for a business like a spa or salon that emphasizes relaxation and calm.

Orange: Slightly less aggressive than red, orange is still good at attracting attention and can be used to create a call to action. It’s also currently a trendy color, especially online.

Yellow: Yellow is bright, cheery and optimistic. It’s a good color for grabbing attention without the aggressive edge of red. Yellow has been shown to stimulate thinking and help people generate ideas; it conveys innovation and newness. However, yellow can be overwhelming in large doses, because it’s the most difficult color for the eye to take in.

Overall, warm colors (red, orange and yellow) are stimulating and exciting. They’ve also been shown to make people hungry, which is why so many quick-service restaurants use these colors in their marketing and interiors.

Cool colors:

Blue: Blue is most North Americans’ favorite color, which can make it a good choice for marketing materials, but can also make it harder to stand out. Blue creates a sense of calm, security and trust, which is why it’s often used by financial services or healthcare businesses.

Green: Green is the easiest color for the eye to process, so if you want to convey calm and relaxation, it’s a perfect choice. It also symbolizes nature and the environment.

Purple: A regal color, purple combines the energy of red with the calm of blue. It conveys wealth, imagination and femininity (one reason it’s often used in skincare and beauty product marketing). 

Pink: Pink is often used to market products targeted at women and girls, but it’s important to make sure your use of pink doesn’t backfire. Slapping pink on product packaging in order to mark it as being “for women” can come off insulting to female consumers.

Neutral colors:

Black: Black signifies power, sophistication and luxury, which is why it’s often used in marketing luxury cars or fashions. It makes a great contrast with other colors, but too much of it can look overpowering. Avoid using black as a background on print or online marketing materials; it will make text too hard to read.

White: White symbolizes innocence, cleanliness and purity, which is one reason healthcare companies often use it in their marketing. It’s a great background for all kinds of colors. Using a lot of white can come off as very high-tech (think Apple) but also as cold.

Gray: The ultimate neutral, gray conveys security and dependability. Shift it to silver, and it suggests high-tech, glamour or wealth. Pairing with gray is a good way to tone down brighter colors.

Brown: Brown works well for “earthy” businesses such as restaurants, natural products or environmentally friendly businesses. It suggests honesty and authenticity. Turn brown into gold, and it conveys wealth and quality.

Color is complex, involving not only the color itself but also its intensity and warmth. To get the effect you want, it’s worth enlisting the services of a graphic designer who can help you choose the right color combinations for your marketing goals.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades